11116 Medical Campus Road Hagerstown, MD 21742 image spacer Office 301.790.8000 - TDD 1.800.735.2258
Patient Portal Button
Meritus Health

Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Indications

Bariatric surgery is intended for people who are 100 pounds or more overweight (with a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater) and who have not had success with other, less risky weight loss therapies such as diet, exercise, medications, etc. In some cases, a person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid condition may be considered for bariatric surgery.

Important Considerations

Bariatric surgery should not be considered until you and a doctor have looked at all other options. Considering bariatric surgery calls for discussion of the following with your doctor:

  1. Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery and should not be thought of in any way as cosmetic surgery.
  2. Bariatric surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or surgical removal.
  3. The patient and doctor should discuss the benefits and risks together.
  4. The patient must commit to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which are key to the success of bariatric surgery.
  5. Problems after surgery may require more operations to correct them.

Complications of Bariatric Surgery

As with any surgery, there are immediate and long-term complications and risks. Your healthcare team can speak with you further about the benefits and risks. Possible risks can include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding*
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Dehiscence (separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together)
  • Infections
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Pulmonary problems
  • Spleen injury*
  • Stenosis (narrowing of a passage, such as a valve)
  • Death

* To control operative bleeding, removal of the spleen may be necessary.

According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery 2004 Consensus Statement, the operative morbidity (complications) associated with Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass in the hands of a skilled surgeon is roughly 5 percent and the operative mortality (death) is roughly 0.5 percent.26 For Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding, the same consensus statement reported that, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, the operative morbidity is approximately 5 percent and operative mortality is approximately 0.1 percent.26

Risks and Possible Side Effects

  • Vomiting
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Gallstones
  • Need to avoid pregnancy temporarily
  • Nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, excessive sweating, increased gas, and dizziness

Why Would I Have an Open Procedure?

In some patients, the laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, approach to surgery cannot be used. Here are reasons why you may have an open procedure, or that may lead your surgeon to switch during the procedure from laparoscopic to open:

  • Prior abdominal surgery that has caused dense scar tissue
  • Inability to see organs
  • Bleeding problems during the operation

The decision to perform the open procedure is made by your surgeon either before or during the actual operation and is based on patient safety.

11116 Medical Campus Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
301-790-8000
TDD: 1-800-735-2258
meritus Health
© 2017 Meritus Health. All Rights Reserved.